Combating talent shortages: How small businesses can attract remote employees

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By Indiana Lee

NFIB’s monthly jobs report revealed that “89% of small business owners hiring or trying to hire in September [2022] reported few or no qualified applicants for their open positions.” In other words, people may be applying but are underqualified for the role.

The question becomes: how can small businesses fight talent shortages? One answer is to recruit remote talent.

Do these three things and you’ll be able to combat talent shortages and attract gifted remote employees to your company.

Understand the motivation behind the increase in remote work

Knowing the inspiration behind the increased demand for remote work can give you an advantage in your recruitment efforts. When you understand why someone wants to work remotely, creating an environment that supports and entices them is easier.

For example, many employees don’t want to return to work in the office because of the fear of contracting COVID-19. The seriousness of the illness is enough to make workers weigh all of their options before considering an in-office position, with one of those options being a remote role.

You could talk about the health and safety protocols you’ve implemented should a new employee need to come to the office at some point. However, you should really capitalize on providing the opportunity to work remotely. Candidates won’t have to worry about COVID-19 and can enjoy the flexibility of remote work.

Find out the “why” behind remote work and show potential employees you appreciate and accommodate it.

Create a positive remote work culture and show it off

There’s no point in hiring remote employees if you don’t have a company culture that supports them. Remote employees often report feeling isolated and disconnected from their in-office counterparts. They also talk about a lack of resources needed to do their jobs.

Creating a positive remote work culture can combat all of these things. It’s essential to develop your remote work culture first so that you can genuinely hype it up during the recruitment process.

So, sit down with any current remote employees and discuss what’s needed to make your culture more positive and supportive of them and their work. This can be anything from providing a team-wide virtual chat to offering emotional support for remote employees. Hearing suggestions from employees working remotely is a secret weapon in designing the best remote work culture.

If you don’t have remote workers, in-office employees can be a great feedback source to tap instead. Use hypothetical scenarios to survey current employees on what they would like in remote roles or how their roles could translate to remote work. Extend your research to the internet and social media as well to develop the foundation for your remote work culture.

Reimburse employees for equipment or provide it

If you want to ensure your small business is incredibly enticing to the most talented remote workers, you must think deeply about the benefits and perks you can provide. These should keep employees happy and help them excel in their remote roles.

One of the best perks to offer remote employees is equipment paid for by your company.

Many remote employees have to use their personal devices for work. This presents a serious cybersecurity risk for your company. In addition, their devices may be low quality or lack the software needed to do all their job responsibilities.

If you can reimburse or provide your employees with remote work equipment, you’ll ensure they have everything they need to do their jobs, and you can protect your business from cybersecurity threats. Moreover, you can discuss this during recruitment to further convince top talent to join your team.

When deciding what equipment to provide or pay for, think about the typical home office setup.

A standard home office usually includes:

-A desk

-Desk mat

-Office chair

-Monitor riser

-Keyboard and mouse

-Cable management system

-Laptop or desktop computer loaded with all software

You can consider extras like lighting, audio, and recording systems too. Don’t feel you have to provide or reimburse everything on this list. However, you should aim to cover all the essentials.


Talent is out there. You just have to look beyond your local area and into the global talent pool. Remote employees could be the solution to your challenges with talent shortages. The tips above can help you attract remote workers and take advantage of all they have to offer.


Indiana Lee is a writer, reader, and jigsaw puzzle enthusiast from the Pacific Northwest. An expert on business operations, leadership, marketing, and lifestyle, you can connect with her on LinkedIn.

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